The National Assembly of South Korea held a debate to hold eSports executives accountable for a major League of Legends (LoL) scandal involving Griffin.
Griffin, an esports team owned by STILL8, reached the finals of three back-to-back League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) seasons in 2018 and 2019, after being promoted from the secondary league.
It is the only team in LCK history to secure such strong results immediately following its entrance into the league.
Major League of Legends Scandal
Just before the League of Legends Worlds Championship 2019 began on October 2, Griffin reportedly fired its head coach cvMax from the team amidst intense disputes with the team’s executives.
During his personal livestream, cvMax said that there were significant disagreements on the team’s lineup with Griffin president Cho Kyu-nam among many other things.
The decision on the lineup and in-game strategies are the sole responsibility and authority of the head coach, and cvMax said that there had been consistent interference throughout the last several months of his tenure.
As the conflict between cvMax and Griffin president peaked, Cho ultimately asked cvMax to leave the team right before the League of Legends Worlds Championship began.
One of the major disputes between the two is said to be the decision of cvMax to use Doran, a young up-and-coming top laner, instead of Sword, a more experienced player. The management had arguments regarding team selection, which eventually worsened the relationship.
So, cvMax left the team and joined GRX, formerly known as Kingzone DragonX, which houses one of the best ADCs in the world in Deft. According to cvMax, Cho asked him to stay for Worlds Championship at the final moments of discussions, which he refused.
However, Riot Korea abruptly imposed a lifetime ban on cvMax from coaching within the league and fined Griffin’s parent company $100,000.
The bigger scandal with Kanavi’s “slave contract”
The bigger scandal began when the ban was introduced, as it led to extreme community outrage.
Hundreds of thousands of enraged supporters of League of Legends filed a petition on the forum of the Blue House of South Korea, the formal office of the nation’s President.
When a Blue House petition surpasses 200,000 votes, the government of South Korea has the mandate to respond.
As the petition reached 200,000 votes, another scandal involving Griffin and Kanavi, a top young prospect surrounding an unfair contract emerged, which then led to the involvement of high profile politicians.
At last, two consecutive scandals including the unfair lifetime ban imposed on cvMax and the unjust contract situation of Kanavi led to a National Assembly hearing in the first week of December.
The hearing focused on the “slave contract” situation of Kanavi, which prevented him from leaving the team despite playing for an overseas team.
National Assembly conducts Hearing
ETNews, a mainstream publication in South Korea, reports that the government and the Congress are moving to pass a policy to protect young players like Kanavi from being subject to unfair contracts.
Local publications reported that Kanavi was asked to sign a contract with Griffin without appropriate legal representation and did not comply with regulations regarding the maximum contract term.
As for cvMax, his permanent ban has officially been lifted and has resumed the role of head coach at DRX.
Chovy and Doran, two of the most highly-rated players in the league who contributed significantly to the success of Griffin, moved to DRX to join cvMax.
In an interview with cvMax and DRX executives, Chovy revealed that despite lucrative offers from other competitive regions with a multi-million dollar salary, he decided to stay in South Korea with cvMax.